Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I had forgotten that it was only a few days until easter weekend when I arrived in Rome. As well, I had no idea that I was arriving in the middle of spring break for most European colleges. Instead of booking a place in advance, like a smart person would have done, I arrived with a list of three potential places to stay at.  Not surprisingly, they had no beds available. I was told to try a fourth place and thankfully they had a bed...but only for two nights. I had to be out by Thursday because for some strange reason a lot of people (mostly Christians) like to come to Rome at this time of year.

The hostel was ok but horribly over-priced. 34€ a night was, by far, the most I have spent at a hostel so far on the trip. It was almost twice as much as I paid in Tokyo...which was supposed to be the most expensive city I was going to visit. The hostel was filled with (mostly) American college students who where studying in Europe and on spring break. I began to understand why they get such a bad reputation abroad. There was a bit of a frat house atmosphere to the place.

Only two nights in Rome so I went on a walking tour of the city to see as much as possible in the short time I was going to be there.

It's been awhile since I learned about Roman history and mythology so only a few of the places I visited I recognized right away. A lot of history has been preserved in the city - walking around the city is like walking in a museum to a degree. It would have been nice to stay longer but even if accommodation could be found, I found Rome to be ridiculously expensive. Having spent almost three weeks in Eastern Europe, I wasn't used to paying so much for so little.

A few people said the HBO series "Rome: Fall of an Empire" is very good / accurate in showing the history of the city and the region. I'll have to check it out when I get back.

The wildest thing that happened during my brief stay in Rome was running into another Canadian - for the third time. First time I met Steve was in Brussels. He was staying at the same hostel there and a bunch of us went out for drinks. He's from Windsor, Ontario but was studying in Scotland. We spoke briefly that night but not for too long since we where both there with different groups. Later that week we ran into each other in Amsterdam on the streets of the Red Light District. And then, three weeks later, we found we where both staying at the same hostel, again. Disney lyrics started playing in my head (although, granted, that happens often). A few beers later we figured we wouldn't be running into each other again since he was heading back to Scotland and as much as I would like to visit one day, Scotland is not in my plans for the foreseeable future.

I was going to head over to Venice for a couple days but with Spring Break on and more tourists out for the Easter long weekend there was no affordable places to be had in Venice for the long weekend...especially since I hadn't booked in advance.  I ended up heading up to Munich for a couple days because I was able to find a cheap hostel with availability.  I grabbed a night train and was in Munich the next afternoon.
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